Catholic Pic October 2023

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FREE Issue 230 October 2023 INSIDE THIS MONTH Parishioners fundraise at St Julie’s Saint Alban’s two historic milestones Caring for our creation

From the Archbishop’s Desk

An important meeting, the Synod of Bishops, is taking place in Rome this month. At these synods, about five hundred bishops from around the world meet to discuss important issues. These meetings were begun by St Paul VI after the second Vatican Council to provide an ongoing forum for the bishops to discuss aspects of the life of the Church and offer advice to the Pope. There were always some non-bishops present, but only with observer status, however, Pope Francis has widened this group and given them a vote.

The subject of this meeting is Synodality. Many people are expecting changes to be suggested by this meeting, but I wonder if they are raising their hopes too high and running the risk of being very disappointed by the outcome of this process. I do not believe that the Synod has been called to reorganise the Church and make sweeping changes, but to introduce synodality into the bloodstream of the Church. At the heart of synodality is the individual’s encounter with Christ, which is followed by a period of listening to Him in prayer, resulting in a period of discernment. This is not a lonely journey. An essential element of synodality is spiritual accompaniment where we learn to walk with each other on this journey of encounter. If the Church is made up of priests, the religious, and people who have rediscovered and deepened their relationship with Christ in this way, then the Church will become truly synodal.

Monthly prayer intentions

The Holy Father’s prayer intentions entrusted to his worldwide prayer network for the year 2023:

For the Synod

Let us pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a style of life at every level, allowing herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the world’s peripheries.

Editor Harriet Anwyl



4 Main Feature Taking Care of the Earth

7 Sunday Reflections

Liturgy and Life

8 From the archives

Tears for Souvenirs

9 News News from around the Archdiocese

12 Pastoral Ponderings

16 Care for Creation

The Wilderness the Sea

18 Profile

Steve Coyle

17 Cathedral Record

19 What’s On What’s happening in the Archdiocese

27 Animate Youth Ministry

Why Lourdes centenary fills me with hope for future

28 Pic Extras

Mums the word

News from the KSC

29 Nugent News

Good Shepherd Appeal Raises over £20,000 for Families in Crisis

30 Dialogue and Unity

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Pictures Nick Fairhurst

Taking care of the Earth

The Archdiocese of Liverpool is fully committed to playing an active role in tackling the climate crisis. This was the message delivered on Sunday 1 October when – days ahead of the publication of Pope Francis’s follow-up to Laudato Si’, his encyclical on environmental matters – the archdiocese underlined its own engagement in efforts to build a sustainable future with the launch of a scheme titled ‘Care for Creation: Commitments, Actions and Participation’.

The Care for Creation scheme is spearheaded by the Pastoral Development department at the Saint Margaret Clitherow Centre. Its aim is to respond to Pope Francis’s call to ‘listen to the cry of the Earth’.

As Pablo Guidi, Catholic Social Action co-ordinator for the diocese, says: ‘It is a fundamental part of being Catholic, of being Christians, that we’re called to care for the gift God has given us.’

The Care for Creation initiative have been preparing an environmental strategy for the archdiocese, and already there are significant examples of action at the parish level. An environmental training programme – of which more below –was set up earlier this year and it has produced more than 40 Care for Creation leaders, working in seven deaneries across the archdiocese.

It was in 2015 that Pope Francis published his landmark encyclical Laudato si’. In 2019, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales set out its commitment with the statement ‘Guardians of God’s Creation’.

In Liverpool in the same year, the archdiocese set out an environmental policy. This was refreshed this year at the same time as work accelerated on establishing an environmental strategy. Deacon Paul Rooney, who is an advisor on the strategy, explains: ‘We’ve started an environmental programme focusing on core operations across the archdiocese, such as energy consumption and building management. It is all about carbon and moving towards net-zero carbon emissions.’

Progress has already been made - the electricity for diocesan buildings already comes from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. With support from students from the Jesuit Fordham University, the team are working towards developing a net-zero road map by the end of the year.

For Deacon Paul, who works as an Environmental Geographer at Liverpool Hope University, the arrival of the second part of Laudato Si’ on 4 October, the feast of St Francis Assisi, underlines that eight years on from the original publication, the themes are more

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The Archdiocese of Liverpool has highlighted its commitment to help build a sustainable future with the Care for Creation Scheme.
‘It is a fundamental part of being Catholic that we’re called to care for the gift God has given us.’
Pablo Guidi, Catholic Social Action

pertinent - and urgent - than ever.

‘It is eagerly awaited,’ he says. ‘The first encyclical made a huge impact in science, right across environmental practice,’ he adds, citing the Laudato Si’ webinars that he runs for the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

He goes on to highlight the importance of the ‘integral ecology’ that the Pontiff speaks of. ‘It means you can’t separate the human challenges such as poverty and inequality from the care of the natural world. These things are entwined.’

For Catholics in the archdiocese, the challenge is to act now. ‘It is a bit like Kermit the Frog saying “It’s not easy being green”,’ continues Paul. ‘We have to challenge ourselves – from those small lifestyle changes that any one of us can make to doing things like supporting CAFOD.’ The Care for Creation initiative seeks to encourage more engagement at individual, school, and parish levels. Schools across the archdiocese and some parish communities have signed up to CAFOD’s LiveSimply scheme. ‘They’re implementing ways to reduce their footprint, and learning to be more sustainable and responsible in our use of the Earth’s resources,’ explains Deacon Paul.

This message is echoed by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon who, in his latest pastoral letter, writes: ‘I invite you to join in creating new ways of living, to build

God’s Kingdom on Earth through practical, spiritual, and relational activities. You may pledge to eat less meat, walk rather than drive whenever possible, avoid air travel, limit the number of new clothes you buy.’

Archbishop Malcolm adds: “This is not just another environmental campaign; it is an integral part of our faith. It is about commitment, action, and participation. In coming together as a parish and in making your personal pledges – in working to heal the planet and in striving for justice for the poorest people in the world – you are a living witness to Jesus Christ.’

Environmental training programme

The environmental training programme now in place is already bearing fruit in one corner of the archdiocese. In May and June, 15 parishioners from the Wigan and Leigh deanery completed a course comprising a pair of two-hour workshops at All Saints Church in Golborne. The course was led by Pablo Guidi, together with parishioners Justine Silcock, Steve Atherton, and Linda Morris.

Linda, a parishioner at All Saints and a Care for Creation facilitator, explains: ‘The first part looked at Scripture and what Pope Francis has to say in Laudato Si’. Then we looked at the climate crisis and how everyday activities – such as the energy we use – all add to the carbon footprint.

‘We went away and thought about our contribution, and then in the second session we chose activities we could carry out to help mitigate global warming and reduce the carbon footprint.’

Parishioners from St Catherine and All Saints, as well as St Lewis, Croft, opted for tree planting, recycling, and gardening, along with working toward the LiveSimply award.

Linda, a retired geologist, elaborates on these activities, starting with the planned planting of saplings in Golborne Park. Working with Wigan Council’s Biodiversity officer and Environmental Health officer, parishioners and children from two local primary schools will plant 105 wild-harvest native trees, donated by the Woodland Trust. ‘These native trees will replace nonnative species to improve biodiversity at the site and help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels,’ she says.

They also plan to commit to the Terracycle recycling scheme, which permits the recycling of plastics that are not normally recyclable, such as toys. ‘The manufacturers sponsor the recycling scheme so that as a parish and schools, we can collect plastics and have them recycled to get money that we can donate to a charity,’ explains Linda, adding that this work will be likely funded by council grants.

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In addition, parish volunteers have built three raised beds at All Saints and plan to grow fruit and vegetables, wildflowers, and flowers. The fruit and vegetables will be donated to the parish foodbank, and the wildflowers will improve biodiversity. Meanwhile, ‘we are going to grow our own flowers for the church,’ says Linda. Previously, flowers bought locally for the church had come from the Netherlands, but with the Dutch supplier no longer trading owing to the rise in fuel costs, last Christmas’s

flowers came from South Africa. ‘On hearing that our local supplier now sources the flowers from South Africa, we decided that the associated carbon footprint was unacceptable, so we’ll grow our own.

‘We’re making our own compost too, with dead flowers from the graves and grass cuttings from when they trim the cemetery and also when we change the flower arrangements in the church.’

For those readers wishing to follow Linda’s lead, a Care for Creation conference will be taking place on Saturday 9 March 2024, with keynote speaker Bishop John Arnold, and environmental workshops.

To learn more, contact Pablo Guidi, the Catholic Social Action Co-ordinator, at or register ‘Care_for_Creation_Conference.’


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On a liturgical note

Saint John Henry Newman, whose feast we keep on 9 October, was a convert from the Anglican Church. When he became a Catholic in 1845, he went to Rome where he was ordained as a priest. On his return to England, he lived first at Maryvale and then at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Newman had a great capacity for friendship and valued immensely the support, kindness, and love that his friends brought into his life and which sustained him through dark and difficult days. While every day is a good day for giving thanks for the gift of true friendship, perhaps Newman’s feast might be a spur to contact a friend, reestablish communication with another, or respond in a friendly manner to someone we know.

Jesus Himself said: ‘I call you no longer servants but friends’ (Gospel of John 15:15) so it is a truly Christ-like virtue to value the gift of friendship.

In Rome this month, there is a gathering of representatives of the Church around the world – ordained and lay – to discuss the way in which we walk together as the ‘Pilgrim Church on Earth’ (the third Eucharistic Prayer).

Sunday thoughts

This summer I planned to visit Trondheim, the ancient capital of Norway, from where the Isle of Man was governed from 1079 to 1266. Since 1850, the Catholic Church on the Isle of Man has been part of the Archdiocese of Liverpool. But it has a venerable history of its own. Ancient crosses on the island date from 650 to 800 AD. Liverpool priest Father William Dempsey, in his ‘History of the Catholic Church in the Isle of Man’ (1955), describes how Viking raiders saw the island as ‘the last of the stepping stones from Norway to Dublin’.

Currents carried open sailing boats from Norway between the Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland to the Isle of Man. The faith of Saint Patrick and his disciple St Maughold survived and reasserted itself some centuries later. The Manx diocese of Sodor and Man was established in 1050. It included the Western Isles of Scotland (that was the ‘Sodor’ part).

One hundred years later the English Pope Adrian IV, who as Nicholas Brakespear was papal legate to Norway and Sweden, established the

As part of the working document, which was drawn from the responses of all countries and local churches, we read:

‘This is what emerges with great force from all the continents: an awareness that a synodal Church is founded on the recognition of a common dignity deriving from Baptism, which makes all who receive it sons and daughters of God, members of the family of God, and therefore brothers and sisters in Christ, inhabited by the one Spirit and sent to fulfil a common mission.’ (Instrumentum Laboris #20)

All of this must also be based on friendship – friendship with Christ and a shared friendship with our brothers and sisters in faith. As another English saint, Richard of Chichester, put it some 800 years ago, Jesus is ‘Blessed Redeemer, friend and brother’; or as Newman writes: ‘I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.’

Pray for the fruitful work of the Synod. St John Henry, pray for us!

Archdiocese of Nidaros (later renamed as Trondheim) with Sodor and Man as one of its suffragan dioceses.

In 1266 the island came under direct Scottish rule and in 1405 governance passed to Sir John Stanley, the first ‘Lord of Man’, a title which in turn passed to Elizabeth I in 1594. Last year King Charles III was officially proclaimed Lord of Man in succession to his late mother, Elizabeth II.

The Archdiocese of Nidaros did not survive the Reformation. The present Anglican diocese of Sodor and Man continues to this day, although it is limited to the territory of the island.

Norway is a big country, and I underestimated the distances involved. Extreme weather led to the cancellation of ferry sailings from northern Denmark to Larvik in Norway. I contented myself with touring Denmark, a well-ordered and friendly country. While visiting the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, I met a couple from the United States. They were in port on a cruise ship … en route to Liverpool and the Isle of Man.

God never gives up

Throughout my life, I have enough to be blessed with meeting some wonderful people. One of them was a priest called John Carr. Jack was from County Cork; a big gruff Irishman who had hands like shovels. He had been a boxer and car mechanic in Ireland and continued with those activities when he came to England. He also had a remarkable intellect. He swore and drank whiskey and always had a foul-smelling pipe in his mouth but I loved him dearly, despite being a bit frightened of him.

When I stopped going to Mass, I think my mum must have been worried and she had a word with Jack. He turned up one Sunday night. My mum went to the kitchen to make some supper and Jack, in his usual blunt way, turned to me and said in his gruff Irish accent: ‘Well, I believe you have stopped going to Mass.’ I wanted the ground to open up, but I decided to justify my actions. So I told him that I didn’t believe in God, that church was boring, and that I’d given up on it all.

Jack took a deep draw on his pipe, blew out the smoke which made me cough, and stared at me with his piercing blue eyes. I got a bit nervous and kept watching those shovel-like hands in case they lashed out at me Then he said to me with a smile playing around his lips: “So you have given up on God, have you? It’s just as well that God will never give up on you”. He then picked up the Sunday paper and ignored me for the rest of the night. There it was, the truth of the Gospel: God never gives up on us. Even when it seemed as though the people of Israel had given up on God, there was always another chance for them.

Ultimately, that is what the resurrection is all about – God’s eternal promise to humanity that whatever we do, God hasn’t given up. Since Vatican II, theologians have talked about the final option, reminding us that when we meet God face to face and experience such unutterable love, why would we ever reject that love? So, could those who’ve committed horrendous crimes be with God for all eternity? Of course they could, because there’s always more in God.

Sister Nancy Keller had a clarion cry as she travelled around the world. It was to remember that there is always more in God. I met her in Rome a couple of years ago for the first time in many years and, with her bright sparkling eyes, she looked at me and said: ‘Don’t forget that even if we never meet again, there is always more in God.’

Father Chris Thomas

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from the archives

Tears for Souvenirs

young homeless people in Merseyside. In March 1989 he paid a visit to St Gabriel’s Children’s Home in Woolton, invited by Sister Gertrude following a charity performance for the benefit of the home. “True to form, he turned up armed with his famous tickling stick and sporting that toothy grin. The highlight of the afternoon for the youngsters was when Sr Gertrude accepted Doddy’s invitation to dance with him to his signature tune, Happiness. Sister surprised the children with her sense of rhythm and agility.”

There is a new exhibition about Sir Ken Dodd at the Museum of Liverpool, celebrating the long professional life of one of the city’s most revered comics.

The exhibition displays photographs, films, costumes, props, and personal artefacts, including the comedian’s own notebooks. There’s also an interactive map showing the hundreds of places across Britain where Ken Dodd performed, and it is seeking memories from those who saw him or knew him. From his numerous appearances in the pages of the Catholic Pictorial, there will be many of our readers with fond memories of Ken, and not just from his stage performances.

Born in the family home in Knotty Ash in 1927, Ken Dodd decided to become an entertainer as a young lad and honed his act – initially as a ventriloquist, then as a comedian and singer

in the variety theatres and clubs of 1950s Britain. He seems to have taken control of his image very early in his career, and he is almost always pictured as a tousle-haired eccentric, crooked of tooth (the result of a childhood cycling accident) and with a range of tall hats and stage costumes. One of his props, the “tickling stick,” was a feather duster that accompanied the upbeat introduction to his act “How tickled I am!” and is so much associated with him that it’s part of his statue at Lime Street railway station.

Although he certainly exploited the new medium of television, with his name blazoned on shows and series broadcast across six decades, it is for his stage work that he is mostly remembered. Even into his eighties, he was delivering marathon sessions, often featuring ensembles of children. After four hours, some of the audience may have left for the last train, and the theatre staff were looking to lock up, but Ken still had another round of quick-fire one-liners at the ready.

It is hard to think of any other comic so associated not just with the city of his birth, but with a minor district made famous entirely through his presence. Knotty Ash, with its mythical jam butty mines, was where Ken Dodd lived his whole life, and where he died at the age of 90 in 2018. Often spotted doing his shopping in Old Swan, where he’d drop in at the fire station for a chat, Ken was always ready to offer his services for local charities.

The back issues of the Pic show him impersonating Father Christmas for the infants’ school party at St Michael’s in Kirkby in 1985, and in 1994 he gave his support to an initiative to help

In February 1982, a fundraising event was organised by the Knights of St Columba to send sick young pilgrims to Lourdes. As he often did, Ken gave his services for free for the event at St Benet’s social club, Netherton. “Performing for charities,” he said, “is one way that people in showbusiness can repay all the luck and kindness that they are shown. For me, it means very much.” He had just been awarded an OBE for his services to charity – “a surprise and a delight,” he said, “but I’m pleased it’s been awarded for the right reason.” As further recognition of his services to charity and entertainment, he was knighted in 2017.

In 1997, an open-air Songs of Praise was recorded for BBC1 at Goodison Park. A crowd of 40,000 saw and heard from Ken as one of the various local celebrities featured in the programme. That’ll be 40,000 memories for the Museum of Liverpool! The Happiness! exhibition is on until 3 March 2024.

In 1981, as Patron of the Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust: “It was through cancer that I lost many of my relatives and loved ones, so this is one way I can help victims of the disease”, he said. Bob Azurdia, former news editor of the Pic and then presenting an afternoon programme on BBC Radio Merseyside, had raised money through sponsorship from listeners for running his first marathon on the Wirral, and Ken assisted with the presentation of the cheque to Sheila Murray, General Secretary of the Trust.

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Ken Dodd with children of St Raymond’s Choir at a charity event in 1982. The choir backed him up on renditions of “Matchstalk Men”, “When I’m 64” and “Hold My Hand”. In 1979 11-year-old Stephen O’Brien, from Widnes, won a Pic competition to see the Ken Dodd Laughter Show at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre. He is pictured with Ken, dancer Mike Byrne, a St Edward’s School old boy, and tickling sticks.

News diary

If you’ve got any news from your parish that you’d like featured e-mail us with the details at:

Parishioners fundraise to install lifesaving equipment at St Julie’s

Parishioners and community members around St Julie’s in Eccleston, St Helens, joined forces to raise over £2,000 to install a defibrillator on-site. This lifesaving equipment was made possible through the efforts of the parish, led by Fr Michael Harwood, and the Oliver King Foundation.

The need for a defibrillator was first raised in June by the mums & toddlers group, which meets in the parish hall. A fundraising campaign was swiftly initiated, powered by the compassion and hard work of the parishioners and members of the community. With the support of the Oliver King Foundation, the costs of installing the device and training twelve volunteers on its use came to £2,200. This amount also included the provision of a weatherproof outdoor casing, ensuring easy accessibility for the whole community.

The resounding response from local clubs, hall users, parishioners, and individuals was truly heartwarming. Within an incredibly short span of five weeks, the necessary funds were raised, reflecting the unity and shared commitment of the community towards enhancing emergency response capabilities.

The culmination of this journey took place on Monday, 21 August in the Parish Hall, where a presentation of the defibrillator was conducted. A deeply moving highlight of this event was the presence of Oliver’s father, Mark, who serves as a champion for universal defibrillator usage. Mark’s advocacy for defibrillators traces back to a personal tragedy in 2012 - the sudden and heartbreaking loss of his son, Oliver, at the age of 12. Thanks to Mark’s unwavering efforts, the impact of The Oliver King Foundation continues to grow, with the recent announcement by the Government that every primary school in England will receive a defibrillator.

The presentation event welcomed not only parishioners but also members of the public who wished to learn about the Foundation’s history, objectives, and ongoing mission to make defibrillators widely accessible.

The Oliver King Foundation were impressed with the community spirit in the parish. A spokesperson commented: “It was a pleasure to visit the parish of St Julies in Eccleston to deliver the defibrillator, community access box and training for the twelve volunteers. The parish pulled together and with determination were successful in raising much-needed funds.

“Knowing that a defibrillator is available in an emergency will benefit this parish and the wider community. They are potentially lifesaving, and we will continue to campaign for defibrillators to be accessible in all public places. “Not only do we deliver defibrillator training, we also offer all First Aid courses which may benefit all parishes.”

The defibrillator at St Julie’s Church serves as a constant reminder of the power of collective action and the enduring impact of compassion. Through this initiative, St Julie’s not only strengthens its physical infrastructure but also nurtures the spirit of caring and support that defines a vibrant and resilient community.

To find out more about having a defibrillator installed, or to support the charity, you can contact the Oliver King Foundation on 0151 728 3470 or email

news diary
9 Catholic Pictorial

Saint Alban’s Warrington celebrates two historic milestones

On Friday 13 October, St Alban’s Church in Warrington will celebrate 250 years of the Mission and the bicentenary of the Church with a Mass of celebration and thanksgiving celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm, who will preside, and Abbot Robert Igo OSB of Ampleforth, as well as other priests, parishioners, and friends.

In 1773, Mass was restored to Warrington permanently by the Monks of St Benedict. Mass was celebrated in a hall in what became known as Chapel Yard, where John Wesley preached. This meant that, despite the persecution during the Reformation, Catholicism never fully vanished from the townit drew its breath of survival from the monks, and this became the catalyst for its recovery in the area.

In 1802, the Abbey of Ampleforth was opened, and it was from there that the monks continued the mission and established the parish when the present church of St Alban was built and opened in 1823. It had accommodation for one thousand people, including 150 in the gallery. Over the years, some alterations had to be made to the church, such as the development of the sanctuary, and as the Catholic population grew other churches were born from it as the Benedictines continued to spread the faith.

It was in 1981 that the secular clergy from the archdiocese took over the parish. there are no longer any Benedictines in the town after they left St Mary’s, which was born out of St Alban’s. Another celebration to mark this special year will take place in the church in December when Hugh Donleavy (a columnist in the Catholic Pictorial) will be ordained to the priesthood.

Papal medals recognise outstanding contributions of Liverpool women

Two parishioners have been presented with prestigious Papal medals in recognition of their service to the UCM (Union of Catholic Mothers) and their extensive charity work.

Margaret Kerbey of St Thomas of Canterbury, Waterloo (now St Oscar Romero parish), was presented with the Benemerenti Medal and Margaret McDonald of St Paul’s parish, West Derby, received the Pro ecclesia et Pontifice Cross.

Margaret’s contributions to the UCM have been nothing short of exceptional. With a continuous dedication spanning several decades, she held positions ranging from Study Officer to Vice President and even Archdiocesan Treasurer. Her commitment to the broader Catholic community is exemplified by her representation at international assemblies and her unwavering involvement in the UCM throughout illness and adversity. Margaret’s spirit and determination truly shine, as evidenced by her charity abseils and unyielding work even during challenging times.

Margaret McDonald was recognised for her decades of service within the UCM and extensive charity efforts which is a testament to her profound commitment to her faith and her dedication to making a positive impact in her community.

Margaret Kerbey was presented with the honour during the UCM National Conference for outstanding contributions to her faith community.

Margaret has dedicated over three decades to teaching primary school children and her deep connection to her parish spans an impressive 62 years, during which she actively participated in numerous roles. From Children’s Liturgy and Eucharistic Ministry to Baptism catechist and Parish “200 Club” manager, Margaret’s commitment knows no bounds. She further extended her tireless efforts to the community, volunteering at a foodbank, acting as a trustee for the Waterloo Community Association, and serving as a governor at the parish primary school.

Margaret’s journey within the UCM spans an impressive 48 years, during which she has undertaken numerous leadership roles, from local foundation positions to national presidency. Her work extended beyond the UCM, as she actively contributed as a catechist, Eucharistic Minister, reader, and Gift Aid coordinator in her parish. Her impact on education was notable as well, through roles as a Parent Governor and Foundation Governor at various schools. Margaret’s compassion and strength were evident as she supported her family through difficult times, including her own battles with cancer.

The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross reflects Margaret’s unwavering dedication, resilience, and devotion to both her faith and her community. Her leadership, both within the UCM and throughout various institutions, has left a legacy of service, compassion, and love.

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Margaret Kerbey Archbishop Malcolm McMahon presents Papal Medal

Deacon Keith Ballard releases children’s book

Keith Ballard, a former headteacher and deacon of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, has recently ventured into the world of children’s literature with his first book, The Bear With A Sore Throat.

Having initially been based in the Diocese of Leeds, Deacon Keith Ballard relocated to the Archdiocese of Liverpool two years ago to be closer to his daughter and her young children, Clara aged 7 and 5 year old Laurie, who live in Formby. Deacon Keith serves in the parish of St George, Maghull, and teaches on the formation programme for deacons.

The inspiration for the book struck whilst making up bedtime stories for his grandchildren. He said: “I based one of the stories on going on a bear-hunt in the garden and making a homemade ‘medicine’ from olive oil, lemon juice and honey when they had a sore throat.” The family suggested that I should send the story to a publisher for consideration. I wrote down the story, sent it to Austin Macauley publishers and was really pleased when I heard that they were offering to publish it.”

In his debut children’s book, Deacon Keith shares a story about a bear who escapes from a zoo, but finds himself with a sore throat. Clara, the central character of the book, inspired by his granddaughter, asks her grandad to create his usual homemade medicine from olive oil, lemon juice and honey to nurse the bear back to health. The story encourages kindness, care, and resourcefulness.

Deacon Keith is already working on his next book. He added: “The biggest test was whether my grandchildren enjoyed the book and they love it! Laurie has been asking about a book with him as the main character, so that is what I am working on now.”

The new author is hoping to go into local primary schools to read the book to school children. Deacon Keith said: “As a former headteacher it would be great to go into schools again but this time as an author.”

The book, aimed at children aged 3-6, is now available at Waterstones, WHSmith, and Amazon and directly from Austin Macauley Publishers.

Families of Parishes Vision Unveiled St Peter’s Primary School unveil bench for Fr John Gildea

The Archdiocese of Liverpool is setting the stage for a transformative shift in the way the Church operates, introducing the concept of “Families of Parishes.”

This initiative is at the heart of the archdiocese’s Pastoral Plan, promising a more connected and dynamic approach to faith and community. The archdiocese invites all parishioners to explore this visionary plan through a series of upcoming roadshows.

The Pastoral Plan, unveiled earlier this year, outlines a path forward for the archdiocese that emphasises pastoral collaboration. It envisions the creation of “Families of Parishes” as the next step in strengthening our faith community.

To provide a comprehensive understanding of this concept, the archdiocese has scheduled three informative roadshows, open to everyone interested in the future of the hurch. The roadshows will take place at the following locations and times:

• Saturday 4 November : 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at St. Margaret Clitherow Centre, Sefton Park Liverpool.

• Tuesday 7 November : 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at St. Anne’s Pastoral Centre in Ormskirk.

• Wednesday 8 November : 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at St. Julie’s Eccleston, St. Helens.

The vision that emerged from the 2021 Synod of the Archdiocese of Liverpool places Christ at the centre, emphasising His mission shared with all the baptised. This mission unites individuals to each other and to Christ during the Mass, creating a sense of community and purpose.

If you have questions or seek further clarification about this emerging strategy, please do attend one of the upcoming open meetings. Together, we embark on a journey toward a more connected, vibrant, and sustainable faith community, guided by the principles of Families of Parishes.

St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Warrington have unveiled a permanent new memorial to remember former parish priest Father John Gildea.

Fr John served as parish priest of St Peter and St Michael in the Woolston area of Warrington from September 1998 until his death in October 2022 at the age of 84 following a short illness.

A bench has been unveiled in the prayer garden of the school to remember Fr John, who was just one year short of celebrating his diamond jubilee in the priesthood when he passed away. He was ordained in Upholland in 1963.

Previously, he also was the parish priest for St Agnes in Huyton (1963-1967), St Matthew in Liverpool (1967-1972), St Thomas of Canterbury in Waterloo (1972-1974), Holy Angels in Kirkby (1974-1978) and St Charles in Aigburth (1982-1998), before moving to Warrington.

The new parish priest for the area, Father Mark Drew, led the service and blessed the bench, which read: “Father John Gildea, much loved and missed parish priest. He loved to hear the children pray and sing and we know he is watching over us.”

After the blessing, the children sang Our God Reigns, which was one of Fr John’s favourite hymns. They also sang the hymn at his funeral, which took place at St Oswald’s in nearby Padgate.

After the blessing, Helen Lea, the headteacher at St Peter’s, said: “The children use the prayer garden for individual prayer, class collective worship, and whole school collective worship. “The children can now sit on the bench and remember Father Gildea.”

Keith’s grandchildren Clara and Laurie give the seal of approval to his first book
11 Catholic Pictorial
Deacon Keith is now writing his second book

The summer is well and truly over now, and the academic year is underway. This month I will be going on my retreat in preparation for priestly ordination.

It’s now almost a whole year since I wrote my first article for the Pic. In a way nothing has really changed, but in a lot of ways, life is completely different. I’m still the same person, although I’d like to think I’ve grown in a few ways over the last year. But I suppose my role has changed quite a bit, I’m doing a lot of things for the first time. It’s a cliché that seminary doesn’t really teach you how to do any of the things you spend your time doing as a priest. And it is true to an extent, but it is also true that sometimes you can only ever really learn on the job. Even practice and dry runs only go so far to prepare you for your first funeral.

Having said that, I think my time in seminary has taught me a lot of the things I need to know. I’m grateful for all the theory that I have learned, because if I hadn’t studied the Bible, theology, history etc., then I wouldn’t really have much to contribute. There is a lot of interesting stuff that we often don’t get the chance to learn, and theology isn’t just theoretical, because, ultimately, it’s very practical - it’s about the Creator, creation, and how you live your life. So I suppose now, as a new deacon, and soon-to-be new priest, I’m having to learn about the practicalities.

In a way, it is not an easy time to become a priest. With fewer people going to Mass, and fewer priests around, it can look a bit hopeless sometimes. But on the other hand, it can be exciting to see the situation as an opportunity. When my generation passes away, I’m sure that the Church’s situation will look very different. There’s no way of knowing how things will develop, but it’s all in God’s hands. We just have to have faith and do what God is asking of us. As Christ said: ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself’.

Living Catholic Social Teaching: Affordable housing and homelessness

“Wow!” is all Colette could say as she opened the front door to her new home. After several years in the making, St Bernard’s in Toxteth (and the adjacent land) had been converted into 16 new houses after it had been empty and falling into disrepair for five years. The church had become a living building once more. The Liverpool Archdiocese, in partnership with Housing People, Building Communities, had realised their vision to make housing affordable.

Colette is one of many different people involved in the project, including single people and couples with and without children; local Liverpool-born people, and those new to the city. Colette paid for part of her new home through “sweat equity”, meaning she is a home partner. “We helped to build our own homes,” she said. Collette explained how she and her dad literally put shovel to soil to help the rebuilding of the church. Sweat equity counts towards the deposit of a home, and not only provides people on low-income access to housing, but according to Rev Dr Shannon Ledbetter, creates a sense of real ownership: “it gives people a real sense of pride and builds a loving community of home partners that continues beyond that first day of moving in.” Rev Shannon is the founder of Housing People, Building Communities and is thankful for the commitment of the archdiocese, “We are incredibly

grateful for the generosity of the archdiocese to help create homes and regenerate buildings that had fallen into disrepair”.

Rev Shannon is clear about the Gospel’s message to support those in need and how the home is an essential part of our sense of dignity. Church teaching also reminds us that Christianity “inherited from Judaism” a sense of the value of housing and home as something that transcends the material (Pontifical Commission Justitia et Pax, 1987, III. 4). Housing is not an administrative act but a core part of what it means to live a dignified human life. As Pope Francis stated in 2015, “we can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing”.

As Homelessness Sunday approaches on the 8 October, we are asked to reflect on the 160,000 families experiencing homelessness across Great Britain and the more than 9,000 people sleeping rough on any given night. Building affordable housing is part of the solution and of our Christian calling. This is something the archdiocese is committed to, and we are pleased to support a further development of 27 new homes at St. William’s Church, Wigan. We can also support you in doing something in your parish. Would you like to explore the issue of homelessness and affordable housing in your community further? Please contact Pablo (Archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Coordinator) for more details

Catholic Pictorial 12 Pastoral ponderings

Slow Cooker Course for Priests

10 priests gathered in the Alba Restaurant, Melling (The old Pear Tree Pub, just off the M58) for what might have been a first in the archdiocese – a cooking course for priests.

The course was led by Adam Franklin –chef proprietor of Alba. Adam has worked extensively with Feeding Liverpool to provide nutritious meals on a budget, and had designed an educational day for the priests all about using a slow cooker.

The day started with learning how to make nutritious porridge in the slow cooker. The priests tried some “Blue Peter” style porridge - some that Adam had made earlier!

The day progressed with a basic soup recipe, and how to make bread to go with it. Adam shared some tips about how to cook multiple things at once and use the timers – this was shown with a slow cooker gammon joint and a slow cooker chicken. The gammon was then made into sandwiches in the bread the attendees had made, and the chicken

was shared around, with some added to the basic soup mix.

Everyone was then invited to make scouse without cooking it - it was then packed and ready to be taken home for an evening meal in their newly acquired slow cookers.

There was lunch of a slow cooker vegetable chilli and self-made vegetable pasties. The day ended with apple crumble made in the slow cooker.

It wasn’t just valuable cooking skills the priests gained - Fr Philip Inch, who attended the course, observed that “for the priests who came on the course, there was a real experience of fellowship in a very different learning environment. The idea for this course came directly from the work done after our Synod in the Pastoral Plan commitment of area 6 to be a Church that cares for its priests. Making sure that we eat healthily and within a sensible budget is a vital aspect of the way we care for ourselves and each other.”

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Care for Creation: Commitments, Actions and Participation

As the Season of Creation draws to a close for this year, we are invited to reflect on the readings from Scripture we have just heard. In today’s first reading from the prophet Ezekiel, we hear the abrupt and possibly harsh call which warns the wicked to renounce their ways and holds those who witness evil and do nothing responsible. The Gospel tells us how we should react to wrong-doing: by facing it, naming it, and trying to remedy it.

These passages from scripture are often invoked as a call to personal repentance, but after this summer of fires and floods, of record temperatures, and devastated landscapes, I am led to reflect on our call to be a prophetic voice on the ills of our times. Especially on the potential catastrophic effects of climate change which not only negatively impact human life but all animal and plant life on land and sea.

This coming Wednesday Pope Francis will be publishing a follow up to his 2015 letter Laudato Si’. Addressed to the whole world, the title of both publications derives from the first words of a St Francis of Assisi prayer – whose feast day we will celebrate on 4 October. St Francis wrote, “Praise be to brother sun and sister moon.” By addressing all creation in this way, he reminds us that we are all interconnected. There is no place for attitudes that think fires in Southern Europe, North Africa and Canada are no concern of ours. St Thomas

To be read at all Sunday Masses on 30 September and 1 October 2023 (Conclusion of the Season of Creation)

In our schools, we will continue to deliver education and resources to seek behavioural change at an individual and school level. CAFOD’s Live Simply campaign continues to engage the interest of our young people.

Across deaneries, our own environmental training programme has prepared more than 40 Care for Creation leaders promoting action in parishes.

Aquinas, the great Dominican philosopher and theologian, said “In every living creature there is a trace of the Trinity”.

In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis draws together centuries of prayer and wisdom and asks us to urgently “Listen to the Cry of the Earth, and the Cry of the Poor”. The Synod was part of that listening, as we built relationships with one another, and discerned a way forward for a more sustainable Church. That is why today you are receiving an update on what the archdiocese is doing, and what you can do as an individual and a parish.

October sees the archdiocese re-commit itself to creating a more sustainable world and I have chosen to bring this under the banner of Care for Creation. This phrase captures our Christian call to love each other and care for God’s Earth.

I am aware of the need to be a steward of our resources, people, and environment and I am supported by all who work and volunteer within the archdiocese – so I wish to share some of this with you. Within the archdiocese our buildings are already supplied by electricity generated from renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and 80 percent of the gas we burn is produced from renewable resources. This year, we are preparing a Net Zero carbon emissions plan that will identify how we can become even greener. We continue to take seriously how our money is invested: we have established a Responsible Investment Policy, and invited people into conversations about our sustainable livelihoods and the impact of our investments.

At the launch of the Pastoral Plan, after our diocesan Synod, I encouraged schools, parishes, and each one of us to make pledges. I invite you again to reflect on this Season of Creation. I hope that you may become inspired to build God’s Kingdom on earth through practical, spiritual, and other activities that bring us together in more sustainable relationships. You may pledge to eat less meat; walk rather than drive whenever possible; reduce air travel; limit the number of new clothes you buy. You may wish to pray that we take the environmental situation seriously or meditate on God’s creation – being attentive to the gift of life and practising gratitude for the world around us. You may commit to joining an environmental group or working with other local churches – building new and lifegiving relationships.

This is not just another environmental campaign; it is an integral part of our faith. It is about commitment, action, and participation in the work that Christ asks of us. In coming together as a parish, in making your personal pledges, in striving to heal the planet – you are a living witness to Jesus Christ. So do not be afraid to tell people why you are working for justice for the world’s poorest people. You are working as a response to God’s call, expressed through today’s psalm: “He guides the humble in the right path, He teaches his way to the poor.”

May the Lord of all creation bless you and your families,

Catholic Pictorial 14 pastoral letter
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The Wilderness the Sea

We are an island nation, millennia of lives forged by being a land on the edge. For those of us rooted in Merseyside, the sea permeates our histories. My ancestry includes a great-grandfather, grandfather, and uncle with strong links to the sea. My seafaring great-grandfather was buried at sea, outside Durban, South Africa. His place of burial is listed by the longitude and latitude at which his body was offered to the depths.

No one who has seen the famous “Blue Marble” photo of the earth, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 in 1972, can fail to be moved by this image. For the first time, we could see that 70% of the earth is covered by ocean.

Oceans are diverse ecosystems. They contain 250,000 known organisms, and there may be more to discover; some scientists believe that at least two-thirds of global marine organisms are as yet unidentified.

The seas and oceans are a major source of food around the world. Similarly, they are important for employment. In 2021, 11,000 fishers were working on UKregistered vessels, but this represented a decline of 1,700 in the last decade. The UK is now a net importer of fish, which can make it more challenging to know where our fish are sourced.

Oceans inevitably attract tourism, whether as cruises to distant places or opportunities for encounters with marine habitats. This provides jobs, both at sea and onshore, and generates income for local communities. Care is needed to ensure that these activities do not pose a threat to underwater habitats and communities.

The seas and oceans have a critical role to play in climate regulation. The waters are very good at absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. They are said to be a carbon sink as they can absorb approximately 25% of human emissions of carbon dioxide.

Seas and oceans have also influenced human spirituality. Throughout the Bible, the seas are used as a metaphor: in the Old Testament, Noah and his family are saved

from the Flood; the Israelites are saved by the parting of the Red Sea; while the psalmist in Psalm 106 praises “he stilled the storm to a whisper/all the waves of the sea were hushed/they rejoiced because of the calm/and he led them to the haven they desired”. Similarly, in the New Testament, we read of Christ walking on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, and he calms the storm when he and the apostles are at sea.

Spending time alone at, or by, the sea can induce a sense of peace and calm and lead us to prayer. To some, the seas emulate the sandy desert wastes of the Desert Fathers, inducing prayer. Early Christians established their communities on islands off the coast of the UK. St Aidan founded a monastery on Lindisfarne, with St. Cuthbert later becoming the Bishop of Lindisfarne. St. Columba established a community on Iona. This month I hope to visit Bardsey Island, off the coast of the Llyn peninsula. This was once a major place of pilgrimage, with three pilgrimages to Bardsey apparently equalling one to Rome. The island is called the burial place of 20,000 saints.

Much as we may claim to be inspired by the seas and oceans, increasingly they are at risk, much due to human impact. The oceans are seen as waste depositories, both direct and indirect. This year we have heard much about the seas around our island being contaminated with sewage, and it doesn’t take long walking along a beach to witness the amount of litter, particularly plastic, being washed up on our shores. Industrial dumping in the

sea is common around the globe, while agrochemicals can reach the sea carried in runoff following heavy rains.

Increasingly, we are witnessing the impact of climate change on oceans. The melting of ice sheets due to global heating is resulting in sea level rise. This will leave many communities around the world risking the loss of homes and livelihoods. This summer we heard of unusually warm sea temperatures as a result of climate change. Global sea surface temperatures reached a record high in July. This will have an impact on many marine organisms, with some forced to move to cooler areas which they would not normally inhabit. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis warns of the ways human activities are impacting the seas: “Detergents and chemicals … continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas”; “many of the world’s coral reefs are already barren or in a state of constant decline”; and “the growing problem of marine waste and the protection of the open seas represent particular challenges”.

The good news is we can help our oceans. We can be careful how we dispose of our waste. Coastal litter-picking events are common on Merseyside. We can check if the seafood we eat is responsibly sourced. As our fossil fuel emissions are impacting the seas, we can be aware of ways to reduce our energy use. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans - we can all contribute to this.

Catholic Pictorial 16 caring
for creation

Relics of Scottish Saints visit Metropolitan Cathedral

The Relics of Scottish Saints—St. Andrew, St. Margaret, and St. Columba— embarked on a sacred tour, making a stop at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral from Monday 18 September to Thursday, 21 September.

The National Relic Tour of 2023, “The Sacred Journey,” was an endeavour by the Knights of St. Columba to share the cherished relics of St. Columba, St. Andrew, and St. Margaret with members of the Catholic faith across the UK. The relics are not merely objects but vessels of history, faith, and spirituality that resonate with believers of all ages.

The tour went beyond showcasing relics; it deepened the faith of participants and connected them to the rich history of Catholicism. Moreover, it fostered a collective sense of devotion and spirituality, emphasizing the timeless nature of faith.

Fr. Michel Fitzsimons, the parish priest of St. Columba’s parish in Huyton, greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit the relics of his Church’s namesake. His sentiment echoed the feelings of many who encountered the relics during their stay in Liverpool. It was a testament to the enduring power of faith and the vibrant tapestry of our religious heritage.

The relics visit was a spiritually enriching experience and a reminder that the spiritual presence of these saints continues to inspire and uplift the faithful in the modern age.

Cathedral Record

Throughout the month of October, we are host to a number of popular concerts in various parts of the Cathedral Complex. On the 5 and 6 of October, Ruby Wax will be appearing for her talk show, which is part of her ‘I’m Not as Well as I Thought I Was’ tour and is taking place in the Crypt Concert Room. It is a humorous, entertaining, and informative chat show on mental wellbeing based on her recent books on the subject.

On Thursday 12 October, ‘The Priests’ from Northern Ireland, Frs Eugene, Eamon and David, will be performing one of their final public concerts in our Cathedral in support of the Liverpool Lourdes Association and the Cathedral. It will likely be the last chance to see them performing, so get your tickets on Eventbrite as soon as possible.

Our Cathedral Choirs in association with the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra will jointly be in concert for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem on Saturday 21 October at 7pm. The British Institute of Organ Builders are having their conference here that weekend, so I will be interested to hear the opinions on the sound of our refurbished organ at the concert. Following this, our choir will be travelling to Holland for a short singing tour over the extended weekend.

Just in case you are worried that I haven’t mentioned any religious services taking place throughout the month, I can assure you that we have a full schedule of celebrations in addition to the regular Cathedral schedule. These range from celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, St Edward’s College Feastday Mass, and the Regional Mass for the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, to name but a few. Please see the Cathedral website for all that is happening this month.

cathedral 17 Catholic Pictorial

From pupil to Deputy Headteacher – Steve Coyle retires from St John Fisher

In the summer, Steve Coyle retired from St John Fisher Catholic High School after 33 years at the school - from being a pupil, to rising through the ranks as a teacher and becoming Deputy Headteacher.

Steve said: “I’ve always lived in close proximity to the school and been in the parish. I went to Sacred Heart Primary School next door and then became a pupil of St John Fisher in 1979. “I had always fancied teaching, but after school I did a mechanical engineering apprenticeship. I had a ball doing it, but teaching was always in the back of my mind.”

Steve followed that calling and left the industry to do teacher training, before returning to the school - this time as a teacher. Steve said: “It was the natural choice for me to return to St John Fisher and I joined in 1995 as a science teacher. During my time here, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to progress in my career. I became a form tutor, then led the transition programme delivering taster sessions to primary schools, became head of year, assistant head, and deputy head, and I even spent two years as the Head of School before our current headteacher Alison joined us. “I have loved every role I have been in, but I didn’t want to continue in the role of Head of School as I missed the teaching element that you still get with being a deputy head –teaching is my greatest passion.”

Despite a 28-year career in teaching, Steve has never opted to leave the school. He added: ”I feel very blessed to have spent my entire teaching career at such a great school. I think studying here myself gives me a real understanding of the students as I have walked in their shoes.

“The school has what we call the ‘Fisher factor’ - it is such a warm and friendly community with a strong Catholic ethos.” Since his teaching career began nearly three decades ago,

a lot has changed in the world of education. He added: “The school is very diverse now, which is wonderful to see – having students from different backgrounds and faiths is what makes our school so special. Being a teacher is now a tougher job than ever before as there is more accountability, but the fundamentals haven’t changed and the sense of community is stronger than ever before.

“We also have new roles in place, such as a senior mental health lead who supports both staff and pupils. It’s something we all really benefit from, particularly after Covid. They have introduced different initiatives including a menopause café for staff – support like that is invaluable.”

An important part of Steve’s job is being involved in Catholic Education. He added: “We have very close ties to the Church; we have regular Masses in both the school and the Church environment so it is embedded into the lives of students.” So, what is next for Steve as he hangs up his school lanyard after all of this time?

“I am leaving the school on a high as we were recently awarded outstanding in our section 48 inspection. This was one of my biggest achievements in my career and has given me a great sense of fulfilment.

“I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I couldn’t give up work completely. I now move on to take up a new role in the archdiocese as a school improvement officer. I am looking forward to working with such talented and experienced colleagues in my new position. One of our priorities will be to support schools with attendance as this has really been impacted by Covid.

“I will miss teaching and St John Fisher so much, but I’m really excited about my new challenge and to give something back to the archdiocese.”

Catholic Pictorial 18

what’s on October

Monday 2 - Thursday 5 October

Hand-Crafted Bible Exhibition

The Irenaeus Project will be holding a special exhibition on hand-crafted bibles between 2-5 October. There is also a special day for schools on 6 October, you will need to book for this. For more information, including booking, please contact or phone 0151 949 1199. The Irenaeus Project, Liverpool,32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD

Thursday 5 October

Scripture Mornings: Gratitude and Blessings in Scripture

10.30am - 12pm

The Irenaeus Project will be putting on special scripture mornings as part of their autumn calendar. This marks the final session of the season, making it your last chance to attend. For more information, please contact jenny@, or phone 0151 949 1199

The Irenaeus Project, Liverpool, 32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD

Saturday 7 October

O’Brien’s Dream

Keyhole Theatre presents a great historical musical drama ‘O’Brien’s Dream’ at St Francis Xavier’s Church on Saturday, 7th October 2023, 7pm. This musical play featuring a love story is set in Liverpool at the time of emigration from Ireland in a period of famine and rebellion. Sean O’Brien (played by parishioner Adam O’Byrne) arrives in Liverpool in 1847 to escape the grating poverty of his life back home and to follow the dream of a new life in America. Liverpool was meant to be a mere stopover en-route. Come along to find out what happens to him. For more details, please contact 0151 298 1911 or email

The Power of Love

The first Come and See Day held by the Irenaeus Project, led by Gerry O’Shaughnessy. For more information, please contact or phone 0151 949 1199. The Irenaeus Project, Liverpool,32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD

Tuesday 10 October

‘Time out on Tuesday’ at the Cenacle from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. Suggested offering for the day - £10, bring your own lunch; tea/coffee provided. No booking required. Take a break from your daily routine and have some space to reflect and be still and be refreshed. Details: Sister Winifred Morley, Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. Tel: 0151 722 2271 Email:

Thursday 12 October

The Priests Live in Concert

7:30PM - 10:00PM

The popular trio return to Liverpool to celebrate the centenary year of the Liverpool Lourdes pilgrimage, and the work of the friends of the Metropolitan Cathedral. With guest soloist Danielle Thomas, and musical director Stephen Mannings. For queries, email, for tickets, go to ThePriestsLiverpool. (booking fees may apply), and for group bookings phone 07860 129589 (Admin fee may apply)

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, Mount Pleasant, L3 5TQ

Thursday, 19 October

Newman Association Talk “Faith as a mustard seed: The work of Catholic education”

Speaker: Canon Ryan Post ICKSP

Join us at St. Helen’s Parish Centre, Crosby, L23 7TQ. Tea and coffee will be available from 7.15 pm for a 7.30 pm start. The event is free to attend, and everyone is welcome. For more details, please contact the local Secretary at

Saturday 21 October

Run Alpha: Runcorn

10:00am - 4:00pm

Experience sample Alpha sessions, discover how Alpha works in a Catholic parish setting, hear from other parishes already running Alpha, and ask all your questions at Run Alpha.

St Edward’s Church, Ivy Street, WA7

Wednesday 25 October

Vatican II Constitutions Lecture & Seminar Series Event 1

3:00PM - 7PM

The first event of the Vatican II Constitutions Lecture and Seminar Series will take place in October at Liverpool Hope University. The speaker will be Reimund Bieringer, who will be giving a talk on Dei Verbum. The day starts with a seminar, then refreshments, before ending with a lecture. To register your interest, please email Elizabeth Parsons on The lecture will also be available online.

Saturday 28 October

‘Come apart and be still.’

3:00PM - 7PM

Quiet Saturdays at the Cenacle from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. Suggested offering for the day - £10, bring your own lunch; tea/coffee provided. No booking required. Details: Sister Winifred Morley, Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. Tel: 0151 722 2271 Email:

Coming in November

Saturday 4 November

Families of Parishes

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

at St. Margaret Clitherow Centre, Sefton Park Liverpool.

Tuesday 7 November

Families of Parishes

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

at St. Anne’s Pastoral Centre in Ormskirk.

Wednesday 8 November

Families of Parishes

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

at St. Julie’s Eccleston, St. Helens.

Website at 19 Catholic Pictorial

New headteacher appointed at St John Plessington Catholic College

St John Plessington Catholic College part of the Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust (HFCMAT), has appointed a new headteacher.

With almost 15 years of teaching experience, and 13 of those being at St John Plessington Catholic College Peadar McLoughlin is thrilled with the role.

In 2007, Peadar moved to Liverpool to undertake a PGCE in ICT. After this, he taught at Notre Dame Catholic College for 15 months before beginning his role as an ICT teacher and website manager at St John Plessington Catholic College in January 2010.

As headteacher, Peadar is looking forward to raising standards and outcomes to ensure students gain a first-class education with gospel values.

Peadar said: “I want to create more opportunities inside and outside the classroom, including developing further links in our local community and parishes, and

supporting growth within the school through maintaining our inclusive community.

“As I have been through the Catholic education system myself, I feel privileged and honoured to have the opportunity to provide that same high-quality Catholic education for students at our school.”

Whilst interim headteacher, Peadar has already worked hard to enhance the experience at St John Plessington Catholic College supporting the implementation of an enrichment programme for all students.

“In regard to our next plans, I am looking across all aspects of the school, such as the continued development of our Junior Leadership Team, opportunities for international travel and experiences, and ensuring the highest standards across all areas,” Peadar said.

Andy Moor, CEO of HFCMAT, commented: “We are thrilled to appoint Peadar as headteacher at St John Plessington Catholic College. He is a valued member

of the Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust, and our team is looking forward to working with him in his new role. Peadar’s experience and ambition for the whole school and trust community is central to his continued success.”

Thank you, Mr Alderman

The entire school community at St Julie’s Catholic High School have wished headteacher Tim Alderman a long and happy retirement as he leaves his post after thirteen transformational years of leadership and service.

During his tenure as headteacher, Mr Alderman has led the school to a 2018 Ofsted judgement of good with ‘outstanding leadership and management’ and ‘outstanding personal development’, a judgement re-affirmed in May 2023. In the canonical inspection of 2017, St Julie’s was found to be ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of Catholic life, collective worship and religious education.

Mr Alderman led the school through change of the classrooms themselves, being a critical member of the team delivering the transition from a problematic and uninspiring 1970s school campus to a state-of-the-art new building proudly rising on Woolton Hill. The new building opened to students in September 2017.

Mr Alderman looked to the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame for inspiration and guidance, and their values are the cloth upon which the embroidery of life at St Julie’s is stitched. Former Chair of Governors Sr Margaret Walsh SND made reference to this in a personal tribute when she said “You have faced so many challenges with courage, confidence and foresight. Alongside these challenges you have strengthened the Notre Dame identity of the school.”

Mr Alderman was always a sound moral compass to remind the school community that the easy thing and the right thing aren’t always the same, and that it is the latter which is more important. Alongside his work at St Julie’s, Mr Alderman spent time as an executive headteacher at St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic High School in St Helen’s and as Chair of Governors at a Primary School in the Isle of Man.

education news
Catholic Pictorial 20

Victory for students at The National Careers Challenge

Three students from St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey were crowned winners at The National Careers Challenge. Across the country, over 40,000 students entered The National Careers Challenge, with over 300 schools involved in the final.

The Year 8 team from St Mary’s consisted of three students, Manny Edwards, Harry Kneen and Jake Atkinson.

At the grand finale in Birmingham, the students took centre stage to present their campaign live on stage to an audience of over 1,000 attendees and a judging panel.

The event included two rounds. In the first round, students presented their ideas to a judging panel before it was announced which teams would be progressing to the final round.

After the students were named national champions, a representative from the event approached the students and said they ‘were the only team to stand up there and thank everyone and wish all the other teams good luck’.

A second group of students from Year 7, Will Pope and Dylan Roberts, also attended the event and presented their campaign for the H2FM Challenge.

Headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic College, Mr Kevin Maddocks, said: “We are extremely proud of all students who represented

our school at The National Careers Challenge. A massive congratulations to Manny, Harry and Jake; you are all a true inspiration to your peers.

“I would also like to congratulate Will and Dylan for their fantastic achievements during the event. Despite facing some tough questions from the judges, they handled themselves confidently and should be incredibly proud.”

The National Careers Challenge is an award-winning flagship school delivery programme that is open to students in Years 7 to 10. It provides real-life business challenges set by leading employers. The 2023 Year 8 challenge centred around ‘Airline of the Future’ for employer partner; Airbus.

Local Catholic school wins big at Chester Zoo’s Conservation School Awards

A local Catholic school won big at the 2023 Chester Zoo Conservation School Awards.

The ceremony celebrates conservation projects created during the academic year and the innovation that schools have displayed when educating students about the subject.

St John Plessington Catholic College, based in Bebington, was awarded with the prestigious 2023 Outstanding Conservation School – Secondary School.

This achievement is the result of how the school embeds conservation throughout its curriculum, with various educational projects exploring and conveying the importance of conservation and sustainability. In particular, St John Plessington was recognised by Chester Zoo for the clear voice that students hold. Members of the school’s Junior Leadership Team work with students from the Eco Club and SJP Farm Club to raise awareness of environmental issues. Together, they have demonstrated natural leadership and public speaking skills through speaking at an array of events and ensured that their voice is heard, especially regarding conservation.

Extracurricular clubs at the school get involved with a variety of campaigns. The groups also support the development and upkeep of St John Plessington’s very own polytunnel which grows fresh produce, creating areas to promote biodiversity on school grounds.

Headteacher of St John Plessington Catholic College, Peadar McLoughlin, said: “We are thrilled to have been honoured with the 2023 Outstanding Conservation School – Secondary School award in recognition of our curriculum and the efforts of our fantastic students. Their passion for conservation and the work they have done to raise awareness about this at school and within the local community is inspiring.”

Andy Moor, CEO of Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust, commented: “As a trust, we are dedicated to inspiring and transforming the lives of our students.

“Congratulations to St John Plessington Catholic College for winning 2023 Outstanding Conservation School –Secondary School.”

21 Catholic Pictorial

builders rejected

The academic year got off to an interesting start with the issue of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete), often used in building schools and colleges from the 1950s to the mid-1990s coming to the fore.

Thankfully, the DFE have confirmed that there are no confirmed cases of RAAC schools or colleges in the Archdiocese of Liverpool; however, we did see many schools in other parts of the country not being able to open in the new term. It is not a straightforward process for surveyors to detect RAAC and it is interesting to note that something so lightweight can be of such significance to a building.

It got me thinking of the quote from Psalm 118, which Jesus referred to in his ministry: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. Jesus is referring to himself and the fact that he is the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God. The very people that rejected him, he had come to save. This rejection did not stop him from being the Messiah.

We often read stories where the one who is deemed insignificant or an outsider becomes a success. The story of the ugly duckling comes to mind. This story explores the themes of belonging, isolation, togetherness, acceptance, and kindness.

October is Black History Month. This international celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society, and to foster an understanding of black history in general. In the past, sadly, our black and ethnic minority communities were not valued in our society. They were considered by some to be of less significance than others and not important. They, too, experienced rejection and have become the cornerstone of our society. Our schools and colleges will celebrate this month and learn more about Black History.

St Josephine Bakhita, a Catholic saint and a former black slave, said: “The Lord has loved me so much. We must love everyone and be compassionate “. Let us live by this motto.

Senior deputy headteacher at The Academy of St Nicholas takes on headship

The Academy of St Nicholas, Garston, has appointed a new headteacher from within its ranks.

Mr Gary Lloyd has worked at the academy as senior deputy headteacher since 2021. He began his teaching career in 2005 at Ruffwood Community Comprehensive in Kirkby. He went on to study a BA in French and Spanish, and had the opportunity to spend two years abroad, one year at a university in France and the other in Spain. Upon his return, Mr Lloyd completed his PGCE at Liverpool Hope University. He added: “I think teaching languages is so unique in that we get to literally open doors to other worlds for our students. Students can see for themselves that languages really is a facilitating subject, and that is about more than learning a set of grammatical rules and lists of new words.”

Over the years, Mr Lloyd has taken on several roles including head of Spanish, advanced skills teacher, assistant headteacher and deputy headteacher. He was also seconded to lead a teacher training collaborative for two years called Wigan and West Lancashire Catholic School Direct.

Mr Lloyd commented: “I am delighted, honoured, proud, humbled. I know how powerful education can be as a springboard to really change lives.”

The academy, which is part of All Saints Multi Academy Trust, is going through an exciting period of continued improvement after it was awarded a ‘Good’ Ofsted judgement in January 2023.

This strategic move follows previous headteacher, Mrs Jeniffer Sing, taking on the executive headteacher role within the trust.

He said: “I am so proud that I have been part of the incredible journey of success that The Academy of St Nicholas has been on, joining Mrs Sing with a determined vision to provide the community of Garston and Speke with a good school.”

“The stone the
has become the cornerstone.”
Psalm 118: 22


in everything we do

St John Rigby college in Orrell, Wigan celebrates the success of all it is students as they start their apprenticeships, jobs or start at university.

One of our students, Isabelle Garbutt (pictured top right) who has achieved three A* at A-level and secured a place at St Catherine’s College at Oxford University. St John Rigby College and St John Fisher High school wish her all the best as she starts her new term doing a history degree.

College Open Events

Saturday 7th October 10am - 1:00pm

Wednesday 18th October 4:30pm - 7:30pm

Thursday 19th October 4:30pm - 7:30pm

To discover more about St John Rigby College, book a place at one of our open events, this can be done by visiting or by scanning the QR code below

Rd, Orrell, Wigan WN5 0LJ
01942 214797 W:
St John Rigby College

Runcorn pupils to benefit from on-site forest school provision

A Runcorn primary school is making strides to enhance its curriculum through an on-site forest school. Outdoor education, particularly the forest school, improves children’s holistic development. It allows for links to be made to current topics being learnt too.

St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery is proud to offer this Scandinavian education-inspired experience to its very own pupils and is training its staff to be qualified in leading sessions.

The forest school is based on the extensive school grounds which comprise an adventure centre, meadow, woodland area, and an allotment for growing fruit and vegetables in addition to a treehouse and bridge.

Earlier this month, teacher, Jessica Jones, became the school’s first fully qualified forest school facilitator following the completion of a Level 3 qualification. Significant improvements have been made to the provision.

Jessica said: “The children at St Augustine’s thoroughly enjoy their forest school sessions and we have already identified a number of benefits, including the mental wellbeing of those pupils who are engaged with it.

“The opportunities are endless, and I am just as excited as the children to begin the sessions.”

Children at St Augustine’s will take part in a wide range of sessions based on their own needs and interests. Activities available include hunting for minibeasts and shelter building.

Jessica, alongside other members of staff, will also be running a regular afterschool forest school, which is designed to encourage outside learning to a greater extent.

Interim headteacher of St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery, John Marciniak, commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to deliver

an exciting outdoor learning experience for our pupils. The values shared during forest school are part of a thread that runs through the heart of our curriculum, and we appreciate how well the children respond to learning in this way.”

New beginnings for reception pupils at Faith Primary Academy

Faith Primary Academy in Everton recently held a special welcome service for its new intake of reception pupils. The service brought together the new starters and their families as they embark on their exciting journey with the school and All Saints Multi Academy Trust, which the school is proudly part of.

The service began with introductions from Faith Primary Academy’s RE lead, Ashleigh Martin, and then several Year 6 pupils reflected on ‘New Beginnings’ and their time at the school. The group gathered together in prayer and then reception performed the song ‘This Little Light of Mine’ for their parents. Afterwards, the children and their families were invited to light a candle to symbolise their new academic and spiritual journey.

During the service, Fr. Chris McCoy, the new parish priest of St Francis Xavier’s Church and Rev. Mikey Ferguson, the new vicar of St Peter’s Church, were also welcomed into the All Saints Multi Academy Trust family with a reflection and a blessing.

Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, Fr. Chris McCoy and Rev. Mikey Ferguson will continue to support Faith Primary Academy by providing spiritual guidance and support to the children, families and staff through whole-school worship, community projects and curriculum enhancement.

Ashleigh Martin said: “We have always been incredibly fortunate at Faith that the relationships between parish and school have

been strong. We have been blessed with clergy who see the value in instilling Christian values and developing spirituality in our children. We know that this will continue with both Father Chris and Father Mikey, who have already started working alongside us and we look forward to this continuing.”

Danielle Fox, deputy headteacher of Faith Primary Academy added: “We are pleased to welcome 29 students into our reception year group. Our welcome service provides a great opportunity for our children and families to unite and commemorate the start of their journeys with us at Faith Primary Academy.”

education news Catholic Pictorial 24

St John Bosco Arts College celebrate open evening success

Every year, secondary schools nationwide open their doors to prospective pupils, allowing them and their parents/ carers to discover what the school can offer.

This year, St John Bosco Arts College created an immersive experience where pupils explored the world of Bosco through a range of department-led activities facilitated by staff and current students.

In the English department, visitors were encouraged to create their own masks for a Shakespearean-themed ball. There was also an opportunity to get creative in the postcard poetry workshop or get quizzical with the classic literature quiz. In true science style, the department took a practical approach to the event, featuring activities and experiments in biology, chemistry and physics.

Over in the art and technology departments, visitors could test their taste buds with cuisines from around the world or try their hand at creative art.

“It was fantastic to meet so many new faces, and I look forward to welcoming the next generation of Bosco students next year.” Applications for 2024 admissions are available on the school’s website.

The event also featured an admissions village, which saw current students deliver tours of the school’s state-of-theart facilities. The village also offered parents and carers the opportunity to ask any questions surrounding admissions, learn more about life at Bosco and get to know the staff.

In the dining area, visitors got a more literal taste of the school as they sampled options from the lunch menu.

The event began with a welcome from headteacher, Darren Gidman, who addressed a record number of attendees. Synonymous with their values, the school is committed to fostering an environment where students can flourish in faith, hope and love.

Speaking on the success of the event, headteacher at St John Bosco Arts College, Darren Gidman, said: “The open evening is a real highlight of the calendar year. It is an opportunity for prospective pupils to get to know us and discover what we can offer them.

“The Bosco community is the beating heart of our school, and each year that community grows as we welcome new students and their families.

25 Catholic Pictorial

St Matthew’s celebrates remarkable success in summer reading challenge

Mrs Sime, the headteacher of St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School, Clubmoor, initiated a reading challenge at the end of the academic year. The challenge, centred around ‘Reading in Diverse Places’, was to promote a love for reading and literacy among pupils. They were encouraged to read more widely and frequently, and this challenge aimed to instil good reading habits in students. Regular reading improves vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills.

Spanning across all year groups, pupils and dedicated staff demonstrated unwavering enthusiasm in their pursuit of reading experiences in the most unconventional settings. From the sheer thrill of bouncy castles to the awe-inspiring beauty of Niagara Falls, participants left no stone unturned in their quest for extraordinary reading encounters.

The school received heartfelt messages of motivation from Liverpool Football Club and acclaimed authors, along with uplifting video messages from authors Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Chris Duke. The school’s local MP, Dan Carden, and Mrs

McCarthy, director of education at The Archdiocese of Liverpool, demonstrated their solidarity by participating in the challenge.

The challenge also garnered active participation from staff and governors. The creativity and dedication displayed by educators made the selection of the best entries a challenging task. Some standout moments included Mrs Sime immersing herself in the suspense of ‘Jaws’ and Canon Conor serenading Elvis’ songs of praise.

The overarching goal of this challenge was to nurture and cultivate a deep love for reading among students. This initiative has laid the perfect foundation for the launch of the upcoming school library, where pupils will be enveloped in the enchanting world of literature, further aligning with the school’s mission to “Love, Learn, and Shine Together with Jesus.”

St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School extends its heartfelt appreciation to all participants, supporters, and well-wishers and is thrilled about the development of its new school library.

Catholic Pictorial 26 education news

Stepping into a new year

Ellie Leatherbarrow reflects on the excitement, optimism and occasional trepidation at the outset of another academic year with Animate Youth Ministries. The summer is over, and a new academic year is now in full swing. During my school days, I was always worried but excited about the first day. What might happen in the weeks and months ahead? What are my teachers going to be like? Is it going to be a good year?

Here at Animate, similar questions have been going around my head, with a new team starting and the challenge of working with a fresh bunch of young people and using new resources. The whole dynamic changes, and it allows us to work with different people and learn new things from each other and the young people with whom we interact. At the start of each year, we have an induction week: this is where we

are able to remind ourselves of the important work we are doing and how we use Christian teachings to develop the team and the people we will be working with throughout the year.

I would have to say that my favourite part of this week would typically be the first night where we would have a fire pit, barbecue, and an early opportunity to get to know one another and see where everyone is up to on their journey. It is a nice start to the week, allowing people to settle in and get back into the work mindset after a long summer. We share stories of what has happened over the summer and reflect on things we might be looking forward to in the academic year ahead. One of the stories I

shared was my highlight of 2023 so far: Lauren, Father Simon and I visited the Edinburgh Fringe and met Anton Du Beke (a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, for those not in the know!).

After our induction week, the year begins in earnest with work with different schools from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool. During this term, we usually work with the new Year 7 pupils, and we ask them to think about how we are coming together as one community.

It is always great to see how the Year 6 children we worked with at the end of the previous year have taken that step up to high school. With the fears and anxieties they may have had about going to a bigger school, we can observe how they have all settled in and made new friends, begun learning new subjects … and even upgraded their school dinners! And amid the worries and stresses that come with the start of the academic year, my mind always goes back to the scripture from 1 Peter 5:7: ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ This makes me realise that we are not alone and even though we might get a bit lost in the busyness of everything that is going on, God is with us on our journey and we need to put our trust in Him.

Dates for the diary

Application forms for the 2024 Liverpool Youth Pilgrimage to Lourdes will be available from 2 October.

Training for new Eucharistic Ministers will take place on 10 December. Any young people interested should contact our office in advance:

youth ministry
27 Catholic Pictorial

Mums the Word

A century of service

News from the Liverpool Province of the Knights of St


Sponsored walk to raise funds for Marie Curie

With the summer holiday behind us, we are now back to business, and we are delighted to inform you of the new appointments on our Archdiocesan committee.

Margaret Kerby has agreed to be Archdiocesan treasurer for a one-year term and Susan Hurlock has agreed to be Archdiocesan secretary, though she still needs to be voted in formally. We are so grateful to these two ladies for volunteering. Now we just need a vice president. As a broader point on membership, we need to encourage more ladies to join our UCM.

On a sad note, we said goodbye to Lucy Thornhill, our former secretary, whose funeral took place on 17 August at All Saints Church, Oakfield. Lucy was a member of All Saints Foundation for many years, and she will be remembered by all for her sense of fun and laughter. She loved to dance the night away. May she rest in peace.

To return to the summer, the committee had a lovely day out during the holiday on the Floating Grace, a barge that tours the Albert Dock. We had a wonderful two hours in which we were served afternoon tea and heard a very interesting talk from the captain on the history of the port.

Finally, let me just remind you of the next business meeting, which will take place on 14 October in the Gibberd Room at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Please bring your charity nomination forms and Walsingham booking forms.

It is that time of year for the Steve Dooley/Pat McGann annual memorial walk. Organised by Council 9, this sponsored walk has raised thousands of pounds for local, national, and international charities over the years.

This year’s beneficiary is a very deserving local charity, the Marie Curie Hospice in Woolton, Liverpool. The walk itself took place on Sunday 24 September and followed its familiar course from the Albert Dock to Aigburth, concluding at St Charles parish centre.

Sponsorship envelopes were distributed at parish churches in south Liverpool in September and were due for collection at all Masses week ending Sunday 1 October. We thank all the parish priests who kindly gave us permission to distribute sponsorship envelopes in their churches, and thanks also to all parishioners for their support of this worthy cause.

• The Order has organised a nationwide tour of the relics of Saints Columba, Andrew and Margaret, which started on 16 June and will finish at the Supreme Council Meeting in Edinburgh on 22 October. The relics were displayed at the Metropolitan Cathedral on 18 September, with a welcome Mass celebrated by Bishop Tom Neylon, the national spiritual adviser to the KSC. After Mass, the relics remained on display in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel until the Cathedral closed at 7pm that day.

• It is with great sadness we report the loss of two more members of the Order. Brother Philip Carroll from Council 493, a member for over 40 years and a past provincial grand knight, passed away on 25 August, just three days after the loss of another dear member, Brother Jim Riley from Council 51. We extend our deepest sympathy to their families. May they rest in peace.



Catholic Pictorial 28 Pic extras

Become a Donation Drop Point for Nugent and Tackle Poverty in Your Community

In these challenging times of escalating living costs across the UK in 2023, Nugent’s services within our local communities have never been more important. Our commitment to never leaving anyone behind drives us to stand alongside families and individuals facing hardships, ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

As we continue our work to tackle all forms of poverty and strengthen our communities, we are asking for our supporters who are part of a parish, school, business, or community group to help by becoming a donation drop point and collecting donations on behalf of Nugent for our three key areas: Charity Shop: Our Nugent Allerton Road Charity Shop is open Monday to Saturday and serves as a platform for giving back to the community. educating, and protecting those in need.

revealed that the number of UK people who menstruate struggling to afford period products rose from 12% to 21% in just one year, with 13% of them missing school, university, or college. Our Hygiene Hub aims to combat this issue by providing a central location in the community where individuals can easily access hygiene products.

Food Pantry: The Pantry is open every Tuesday, 1pm to 3pm, at St Anne’s Church to provide a weekly shop to support those who may need a helping hand. The shoppers have access to a full shop, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and cupboard favourites, for a weekly cost of £3.50. The value of the shop often totals £15-20 or more, making it a cost-effective way to meet grocery needs.

Pushing ourselves to help those in need

This November, I, along with several Nugent colleagues and friends, will undertake a monumental 100km Sahara Desert Trek Challenge. We’re deeply committed to the challenge that lies ahead of us, and we’re pushing ourselves to the limits to raise essential funds for those who need it most.

Come rain or shine, we’ve been braving beaches, forests, hills, and mountains, clocking in hours of training. Beyond the personal growth and physical challenge, there’s a deeper purpose fuelling our determination. The funds raised from this gruelling Sahara Trek Challenge will be distributed to various Nugent projects across Merseyside. This includes:

• Establishing a multi-gym at Marydale, our secure children’s home for children aged 10-18 who are vulnerable, traumatised, or disadvantaged.

Why set up a Donation Drop Point for our charity shop?

Many individuals and families have faced hardships due to the cost-of-living crisis. As a result, the demand for assistance from charitable organisations has significantly increased. By establishing a donation drop point, you can be an active part of the solution and make a positive impact on your community.

Hygiene Hub: Our Hygiene Hub is located within our weekly Pantry, which is open every Tuesday in St Anne’s Church on Overbury Street, Liverpool. It’s a place where individuals can receive the support they need and pick up items to help them when they are struggling.

Why set up a donation point for the Pantry?

Food prices in the UK soared by a staggering 15.7% in April, putting immense strain on families and individuals struggling to afford basic groceries. Food insecurity leaves many people reliant on food banks and pantries just to make ends meet. For some children living in food poverty, a free school meal could be the only guaranteed hot meal they eat in a day. By setting up a drop point, you directly contribute to the fight against food poverty in your community.

• Creating a sensory garden at Lime Grove Cottage, a residential home that supports children and young people who have mild to moderate learning difficulties, physical disabilities, are neuro-diverse, and/or have mental health needs.

• Providing packages for families escaping domestic abuse, enabling more families to safely leave a home where violence, or the threat of violence, is present.

• Nugent’s Crisis Fund: helping families and individuals living in our local communities who are facing extreme poverty.

Why set up a donation point for the Hygiene Hub?

In 2022, an estimated 3,150,000 adults (6% of the population) were affected by hygiene poverty, leading to social isolation, shame, and anxiety for many.

A startling statistic from ActionAid


Nugent alleviate poverty and make a difference today

Your contribution matters, and setting up a donation drop point is an impactful way to create change. Our dedicated volunteers will help you set up the donation drop point and arrange collections that are convenient for you.

For more information or to set up a donation drop point, please contact us at or call 0151 261 2000.

You can also find out more by visiting our website: fundraising/donation-drop-points

• Nugent’s Hygiene Hub: offering essential hygiene products to families and individuals who would otherwise go without.

Your support in this journey means the world to me. Your contribution, big or small, can help us achieve our fundraising goal and transform lives. To learn more and donate, visit: appeal/saharatrek2023

Help us continue our mission of caring for, educating, and protecting those in need.

Thank you to all our fundraiser sponsors for helping to make this fundraising trek a reality: Krol Corlett Construction, RFM Group, PIB Risk Management, Cataphract Limited, Moore Media, Frankie Kemp, Grahams Consultants, Bakare Barley, Sagegreen Consulting, PRICE Training, Lynbrook, Sutcliffe Lisa Ellis Consultancy, Legacy Hotels & Resorts, and Aabyss.

29 Catholic Pictorial

Dialogue and Unity Ringing in religious harmony

The Liverpool Universities Society of Change Ringers, which is known by the abbreviation LUSCR (pronounced “lusker”), are a group of students who share an interest in church-bell ringing. Their practices during term time, are every Friday from 6-7pm and they contribute to the Sunday atmosphere at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Everton by ringing the bells between 10-10.15am. The Society is over 60 years old.

There are around two dozen university bell-ringing societies but only three have their main base (or tower in the jargon!) in a Catholic church – namely SFX, St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield and the York Oratory.

LUSCR welcomes all students in higher education in Liverpool and Chester from the following universities: the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Hope University, Edge Hill University, and the University of Chester.

The Jesuits at SFX were very supportive of the ringers, who have been delighted to receive the same level of support from Father Chris McCoy following his arrival as parish priest. A special peal (approximately three hours of ringing) was rung to bid farewell to the Jesuits, who had been at the church for 175 years, and also to

Father Denis Blackledge and Brother Ken Vance. Subsequently, a special quarterpeal was rung in honour of Father Chris McCoy on his first Sunday – a unique welcome that was greatly appreciated.

SFX nestles within the complex of Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus at Everton, and the university sponsored the rehanging of the bells in the SFX bell tower. The bells, cast in 1920, are often described as having the finest ring in the city and are highly regarded in the wider world of ringing.

For LUSCR members, ringing is a labour of love, pleasure, and faith. Any student in the area is welcome to join the group and they are very happy to train you, free of charge. LUSCR is also a great social group as it organises a range of ringing and social events throughout the year, as well as participating in the local Liverpool branch ringing meetings and events. Also on the calendar is the hosting of the Northern Universities Association of Change Ringers (NUA) weekend in November and a summer ringing tour (this year, they visited a range of churches in Kent).

Their biggest social event of the year is the annual dinner, where many past members, spanning the lifetime of the society, come back to celebrate friendships (and

a number of marriages!) forged by the society. Often – and in no small part due to LUSCR – ringing has become a part of their lives, and many continue enriching the worship in their churches with their regular commitment to ringing on Sundays and major festivals.

Helen Lunn, former master of the society and now the organ scholar at Liverpool Hope University, said: “Ringing brings people together in ways rarely seen in other hobbies, and can lead to the strongest of relationships. The society has helped me develop as a person, and in my role as master, I was able to learn vital life skills rarely taught at a young age. Ringing is a unique hobby, with a wealth of opportunities, and can be as simple or as complex as you wish. I would recommend ringing to anyone of all ages.”

• Students interested in bellringing can contact LUSCR by emailing More details can be found on the society’s website:

• Anyone else interested can approach the Liverpool branch of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers by emailing

Catholic Pictorial 30
Ultan Russell, Archdiocesan Ecumenical Officer
31 CatholicPictorial Keeping you up­to­date with all the news from around the Archdiocese online at: You can follow us on social media at: @PicCatholic Plus you can subscribe to the Pic Postal subscriptions are available as follows: • £9.50 for 3 issues (3 month subscription) • £19 for 6 issues (6 month subscription) • £37.50 for 12 issues (annual subscription) POSTAL: To take out a postal subscription please email or call 0151 709 7567 DIGITAL: You can also subscribe to a digital version on the Pic by emailing or call 0151 709 7567
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